Media Focus on Multinational Corporations[2022.01.24]






TotalEnergies joins UAE green hydrogen partnership

TotalEnergies has joined Masdar and Siemens Energy to develop a demonstration facility in Abu Dhabi to produce green hydrogen for sustainable aviation fuel, the French integrated energy company announced on Wednesday.

The partnership was signed during Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week 2022.

Masdar signed the original agreement with Siemens Energy, Abu Dhabi Department of Energy, Etihad Airways, Lufthansa Group, Khalifa University of Science and Technology, Siemens Energy and Marubeni Corporation for the development in 2021.

The demonstrator plant will help to establish the commercial viability of green hydrogen as an essential decarbonised fuel of the future and will support Abu Dhabis development as a green hydrogen hub,said Mohamed Jameel Al Ramahi, CEO of Masdar. 


Repsol selects Honeywell for first biofuels plant to be built in Spain

Honeywell announced that it has been selected by Repsol to supply an integrated control and safety system (ICSS) for the first advanced biofuels production plant to be built in Spain, according to Hydrocarbonprocessing.

The new facility will employ a variety of distributed control systems, emergency shutdown (ESD), fire and gas (F&G) and human-machine interface (HMI) solutions from Honeywell to achieve efficient, sustainable and low-emission operations.

Last year, Repsol announced its strategy to become a net-zero emissions company by 2050 and recently announced more ambitious targets that will accelerate its transformation.

The companys biofuels plant located at its Cartagena, Spain refinery will have an annual production capacity of 250,000 tons of hydrobiodiesel, biojet fuel, bionaphtha and biopropane. The plant will also produce advanced biofuels from recycled raw materials to be used in road transportation and aviation. These advanced biofuels will facilitate the reduction of CO2 emissions by 900,000 tpy.

With this initiative, we at Repsol are decisively promoting a new technological route that will be key in our path towards carbon neutrality. This initiative will be incorporated into projects weve already implemented in energy efficiency, low-emissions electricity generation, green hydrogen, circular economy, synthetic fuels, CCUS and much more,stated Josu Jon Imaz, Repsol CEO.


Exxon Mobil

Exxon Pledges Net-zero Carbon Emissions from Operations by 2050

Exxon Mobil Corp on Tuesday pledged to cut to zero its net carbon emissions from its global operations by 2050, catching up with rivals who are minimizing their carbon footprints.

Exxon's 2050 plan, first mulled last year, covers emissions from its oil, gas, and chemical production and from the power those operations consume, so-called scope 1 and 2 targets. It made no commitment for emissions from consumers using those products.

'We are developing comprehensive roadmaps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from our operated assets around the world,' Exxon Chief Executive Officer Darren Woods said in a statement.

The company is 'working with our partners to achieve similar emission-reduction results' in properties where Exxon is not in charge of operations, he said.

The oil major's shareholders last year tossed out three Exxon directors and replaced them with candidates proposed by a hedge fund pressing the company to boost returns and better prepare itself for a low-carbon world.

U.S. oil producers have lagged many European rivals in embracing Paris climate agreement goals of reducing the emissions that contribute to global warming. BP Plc and Royal Dutch Shell Plc have also pledged to cut emissions from fuels and products sold to consumers, so-called scope 3 targets.

Exxon's new pledge puts its a step ahead of U.S. rival Chevron Corp, which last October pledged to bring emissions from its upstream operations to zero by 2050 and lower the intensity of emissions elsewhere.

In November, Exxon said it would increase spending on projects dedicated to lower-carbon emissions to $15 billion through 2027. That includes development of technologies that are currently not commercial, like carbon capture and storage, hydrogen power and biofuels from algae.

In December, it pledged to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions in its operations in the U.S. Permian Basin by 2030.

European oil producers have been leading the energy transition with plans to slowly reduce oil production and substitute it with renewable wind and solar power. Exxon and Chevron plan to increase oil production during this decade, supported by estimates that global oil demand will rise.


Woodside starts engineering activities on H2OK hydrogen project

H2OK is a liquid hydrogen production facility proposed for the Westport Industrial Park in Ardmore, Okalahoma. Its first phase involves the construction of an initial 290-megawatt facility, producing up to 90 tonnes per day (tpd) of liquid hydrogen through electrolysis. In addition, the location offers the capacity for expansion up to 550 MW and 180 tpd.

Woodside says the FEED phase is a significant project development milestone, eventually leading to a final investment decision. The company is targeting a final investment decision on H2OK in the second half of 2022, and the first liquid hydrogen production in 2025.

Woodside CEO Meg ONeill said that new energy projects like H2OK have the potential to create significant value for shareholders. She also stressed that Woodside looks to diverse product offerings to customers in support of their decarbonisation goals.

We are excited about the H2OK opportunity, given H2OKs strategic location close to national highways and the supply chain infrastructure of major companies already looking for reliable, affordable and lower-carbon sources of energy. Coupled with our recently announced target to invest US$5 billion in new energy products and lower carbon services by 2030, this FEED entry supports Woodsides strategy to thrive through the energy transition.

H2OK FEED entry follows a series of recent announcements about Woodsides expanding new energy.

interests in the U.S. This includes a memorandum of understanding with Hyzon Motors and a collaboration with renewable energy technology company Heliogen.


Apple Names Kristin Huguet Head Of PR

Apple has tapped a new head of PR: longtime company spokesperson Kristin Huguet Quayle. Shell replace Stella Low, former communications chief at networking giant Cisco, who joined Apple in May 2021.

An Apple veteran, Quayle has been with the company since 2005, working under former SVPs Katie Cotton and Steve Dowling. Shes worked under CEOs Steve Jobs and Tim Cook, and her tenure has included some of the companys most high-profile public relations challenges a pitched battle with the FBI over iPhone encryption, a very public spat with Bloomberg over a contentious story and, more recently, a confrontation with Fortnite maker Epic Games over its App Store practices.

Quayle will report directly to Cook. Her new gig starts immediately, and will likely include oversight of some big future product announcements Apples upcoming AR headset and perhaps even that long-rumored self-driving car.

Apple confirmed the hire with the following statement: Kristin has played an instrumental role sharing Apples story of incredible innovation and strong values for more than 15 years. With an extraordinary depth of experience and a long track record of principled leadership, Kristin is uniquely suited for her new role overseeing worldwide communications.

Apple said Low is departing to spend more time with her family.


TikTok tests paid subscription model

Short video app TikTok is testing a paid subscription model that enables content curators to charge people for viewing their works. The move came as the mobile app developed by China-based Byte-Dance solidified itself as the most sought-after app of the year with 656 million downloads globally, per a ranking by Apptopia last month.

The functionality is in the trial phase and is 'only applicable to certain markets,' company insiders confirmed with China Daily on Friday. No other details on pricing or timeline were provided.

'We're always thinking about new ways to bring value to our community and enrich the TikTok experience,' a spokesman was quoted by The Wall Street Journal as saying in response to questions about the test run.


Baidu releases digital avatar platform Xiling

Chinese tech giant Baidu Inc has released its digital avatar platform Xiling, which combines digital avatar generation with content production, as the company looks to leverage its artificial intelligence capabilities in the fast-growing metaverse field.

The platform can provide creation and operation services covering virtual host, virtual idol and brand spokesperson for various sectors such as radio, television, internet, finance and retail.

The user demand and advancement in technology has become the core driving force in the digital human sector, said Li Shiyan, director of Baidu's Intelligent Cloud AI human-computer interaction laboratory.

Policy support, capital inflow and the iteration of computing platforms have also boosted the development of the digital avatar industry, Li added.

Several artificial intelligence-powered technologies like natural language understanding, voice interaction and intelligent recommendation have been utilized to create digital avatars, according to Baidu.

The company has cooperated with Shanghai Pudong Development Bank, China Everbright Bank and China Unicom to launch a one-to-one service-based digital human.

But there are some bottlenecks that hinder the large-scale application of a digital avatar, Li said.

For instance, each link of the digital avatar industrial chain is relatively fragmented and could not coordinate efficiently. The service-based digital avatars could not have emotional communication with users.


Starbucks brews to flow through Meituan

Starbucks China has added a new delivery platform to its bouquet of services in China, in the form of a presence on Meituan, an e-commerce and delivery mobile app.

This additional channel, Starbucks said, will enable its customers to better connect with the brand and its services offered through local stores, besides enriching individual experiences.

Starbucks services are already available online through WeChat mini program, mobile app and, a food delivery and online shopping app.

Now, through Meituan, Starbucks will offer private bookings for coffee experiences at select stores.

More than 60 Starbucks quick service restaurantsQSRsin Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Guangdong province, and Chengdu, Sichuan province, now offer this service. Starbucks said it has plans to expand this service across the market.

In addition, the company has expanded its Starbucks Delivers program, a mobile order and delivery service, with more order customization features.


Huawei: Tonga to resume intl voice communications this week

Huawei Technologies Co, which has provided technologies for telecom facilities in Tonga, said the island nation is expected to resume international voice communications this week.

Huawei's branch in the Philippines which is responsible of its business in Tonga said the massive eruption of an underwater volcano off Tonga has damaged the local communication facilities in the nation to a certain extent.

Huawei said it is now able to reach local partners in Tonga via satellite phones, and local telecom operators are scrambling to repair communication facilities, and the focus of the repair work is to restore satellite data services to help Tonga reconnect to the internet as soon as possible and restore voice communication.

Tonga's submarine communication fiber optic cables may be difficult to repair in the short term due to damage caused by the volcanic eruption, Huawei added.


Novotech completes fresh financing to accelerate growth

Novotech Health Holdings, a leading biotech company, announced it has raised a total of $760 million in its latest financing round, which will drive the company in pursuing further growth opportunities.

The new round includes a $255 million private placement and a $505 million refinancing transaction. This new transaction values the company at approximately $3 billion.

'We look forward to accelerating our growth by pursuing various strategic M&A and tech enablement initiatives and seek to better serve our biotech and pharmaceutical clients and support the clinical research industry in the development of a wide spectrum of therapeutic areas,' Novotech CEO John Moller said.


Airbus to help maintain, upgrade, recycle aging planes in China

European aircraft manufacturer Airbus will set up its first sustainable aircraft life cycle services center in China in Chengdu, Sichuan province, as it eyes business opportunities emerging from China's increasing number of aging aircraft.

Airbus signed a memorandum of understanding with the city government of Chengdu and Tarmac Aerosave for the development of the center. It is also Airbus' first such facility outside of Europe.

With an investment of 6 billion yuan ($945 million), the center is located near Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport and is expected to be put into operation by the end of 2023, subject to relevant regulatory approval. A formal agreement to establish and frame the industrial cooperation is planned to be signed between the partners in mid-2022.

The center will provide services covering a wide range of activities, including aircraft parking, storage, maintenance, upgrades, conversions, dismantling and recycling for various aircraft types. The 690,000 square meter facility will be able to accommodate 125 aircraft at a time.


JD, Shopify pave way for US brands to reach Chinese consumers easily

Chinese online retailer JD and e-commerce service platform Shopify have inked strategic partnership to give independent brands in the United States a simple, trusted way to access consumers in China, while simultaneously enabling Shopify merchants worldwide to access JD's quality supplier network.

The partnership will link Shopify's millions of merchants worldwide with JD's 550 million active customers in China who use the platform to find authentic, high-quality products, JD said in a statement.

With this collaboration, JD will open an accelerated channel for brands on Shopify to list products through JD Worldwide, the company's cross-border e-commerce marketplace.

Intelligent translation and smart price conversion services will be provided. In addition, JD's global supply chain network will provide end-to-end fulfillment service from the US to China, leveraging the company's China-US cargo flights, US warehouses and more than 1,300 warehouses and over 200,000 delivery personnel in China.

The partners will also collaborate to simplify access and compliance for Chinese brands and merchants looking to reach consumers in overseas markets. JD will support quality Chinese brands to set up their direct-to-consumer or DTC channels through Shopify, and enable Shopify merchants worldwide to access JD's supplier network through the JD sourcing platform.

The move is also part of a larger strategic partnership between Shopify and JD that aims to help solve cross-border commerce challenges across product sourcing, selling, and logistics for merchants in the US and China.


CATL's battery-swap solution for NEVs to be launched in 10 cities

Contemporary Amperex Technology Co Ltd, a Chinese manufacturer of batteries for new energy vehicles, unveiled a battery swap solution called Evogo on Tuesday, which will rolled out first in 10 cities across China.

All automakers can use Evogo to change NEV batteries at CATL's rapid battery-swap stations using mobile apps, the company said.

Users will be free to combine one to three blocks at the same time, to meet different range requirements at swap stations. Evogo was developed by CATL's subsidiary Contemporary Amperex Energy Service Technology Ltd.


Citi report finds MNC mood in China buoyant

Multinational corporations still consider China their favorite investment destination and, given the local supply chain resilience and effective control of COVID-19, do not intend to move out of the country, a new Citi report stated.

The global bank's report is based on an analysis of three recent surveys on supply chain relocation that are available in the public domain.

The three surveys were conducted by the American Chamber of Commerce China, the EU Chamber of Commerce China and the Japan External Trade Organization.

The American Chamber of Commerce China's survey found that 37 percent of US MNCs, which is a 5 percentage point increase from 2020, were planning to increase investment in their China operations by 1 percent to 10 percent in 2021.

At the same time, the share of US firms that had planned to maintain or lower their investment in China in 2021 declined by 3 percentage points to 34 percent.

The survey by the EU Chamber of Commerce China found that 59 percent of the EU MNCs polled considered expanding their China operations in 2021, which is 8 percentage points higher than that in 2020, and a record high since 2014.

Jin Xiaowen, a Citi economist, wrote in the report: 'The supply chain relocation out of China appears to have slowed or even reversed amid the COVID-19 global outbreaks China's effective containment of the virus has allowed its factories to quickly resume production again.